Never having been to Colorado before, I hadn't experienced the "Rocky Mountain High," but holy cow, is it a gorgeous place. We spent two nights in Durango, which is one of those places I'd love to live in while it's summer. When the annual 40 feet of snow arrives, I may feel differently. We took the kids to a silly musical called "Forever Plaid" at the historic Henry Strater Theater one night, and stuffed ourselves at Francisco's Cantina.
The highlight of this stop, though, was a day trip on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
This steam train has been in operation for over 125 years, and the town of Silverton, which is at an elevation of 9300 feet, is a historic Victorian silver mining town. The tiny town originally had something like 40 brothels and a similar number of saloons, so it must have been a pretty rocking place back in the day. We had lunch at the Handlebar Saloon.
As picturesque as the town was, it was the scenery from the train ride that really stole the show. We were reminded several times that Colorado has 54 mountain peaks in excess of 14,000 feet, and the train tracks wound through the shadows of several of them, and parallels the Animas River for most of the journey.
Serious Rocky Mountain high. There are a few more photos on my Flickr, and next we head back to the desert and into the Native American educational portion of the trip.